Sketchbook: some 10-minute sketches

Updated on 22 February 2017 (Harvard referencing).

21 April 2016. I do not get many opportunities these days to sit down and spend time with my sketchbook. So I started a little project, which I call the “10 minutes I have before collecting my son” series. On some afternoons my son spends some hours after school at the centre for deaf children. Since there exists the absurd regulation that we must not pick up our children before a certain time, and not after either, I often have 10 minutes to wait until the doors are opened.

Here come some of the sketches I made over the last few months during my 10 minute waits (Fig. 1 – 10 below). I often have to stop early, so they remain rudimentary, but I am learning to concentrate on the most important aspects of a view and so I think the time limit is a very valuable aspect of the exercise.

Figure 1. Building site at a busy crossroads
Figure 2a. Scribbles                                                                   Figure 2b. Flats near the school
Figure 3. Preliminary sketch for Painting 1 exercise of piece of fruit, made in car while waiting (Part 1)
Figure 4. Rear mirror view
Figure 5. Persons in playground, quick sketches
Figure 6a. Bush near carpark                                          Figure 6b. Car keys
Figure 7a. Girl on swing                                                 Figure 7b. Wooden structure of picnic table
Figure 8. Andräkirche in the city of Salzburg, view from Mirabellgarten
Figure 9a. Red scooter parker on pavement                   Figure 9b. Plant in flowerbed at school
Figure 10. Trees in school park

I can see that I am starting to develop my very own style of drawing and I am happy how my mark-making develops. One or two of the sketches I might use later in the course. Hopefully I will be able to develop in a similar way the marks I use in painting.


Part 1, project 1, exercise 1c: Getting to know your brushes – a piece of fruit

Updated on 18 February 2017 (Harvard referencing).

February 18, 2016. The day before yesterday I went shopping to find a piece of fruit with character. There was a tray in the supermarket’s fruit section which contained a weird sort of pear with a peculiar long neck, which I thought I had to give a go because of its asymmetrical form and beautiful hues changing from green to red, yellow and light brown, with speckles all over its skin. In order to emphasize its form and colours I put it on two carefully selected linen placemats in such a way that several diagonals appeared in the setup, providing both axes of separation and communication.
Since I expected this painting to be no more than a quick exercise I used the back of an old sketchbook and unfortunately there appeared horizontal indentations in the cardboard, which must have developed over night, because they were not there at the time of painting. They are visible only in the slanting morning light I took the photograph in, but it reminds me to avoid using unsuitable materials even for the most straightward exercise.
I still quite like the light in the finished painting. This I produced in two steps: first by putting on the cardboard a background layer of pure white acrylics, which I let dry over night and which shines through the layers of colour I put on top, and second by adding several transparent washes of pure white, mixes of white and background colours as well as dark brown mixed with blue. This was by no means the first time I used acrylics, but I think that I learned an incredible amount of new things in this exercise. In particular, which is a special topic with me, there is no need to rush and it is immensely valuable to never lose contact with the developing area of newly applied paint. With me there is always a moment of thinking “How this little bit looks beautiful”, while at the same time watching myself PAINT OVER exactly that little bit. I think that I have only now really understood the principle of communicating with the developing work and I feel pure joy at finally being able to do so (Fig. 1, Fig.2, Fig. 3).

Figure 1: “Pear”, acrylics on cardboard

Before starting to paint I had had a quick look over some paintings by other artists made of single pieces of fruit (e.g. Blair (2010), [Anon.] (n.d.)), but my pear practically dictated the setup of the painting, so I did not refer to the information in my exercise.


[Anon.] [n.d.] [n.k.] [n.k.] [n.k.]. Available at / [Accessed 18 February 2016]

Blair, K. (2010) Still Life of Fruit, Peach. [oil on canvas] [online image]. Edmonton AB, Canada. Available at [Accessed 18 February 2016]